Renting and Thrifting Are Bringing Thoughtful, Smart, and Stylish Possibilities in Wedding Fashion

The landscape of wedding fashion is changing. These days, brides are making their celebration more personal by choosing attire that reflects their unique tastes. As consumers, brides are now realizing that there are other budget-friendly and distinctive options apart from bespoke white dresses. Opting to rent a wedding dress provides the opportunity to don a stunning gown at just a fraction of its purchase price, all while avoiding the burden of owning an outfit that’s worn just once. Alternatively, thrifting for a wedding dress can uncover exceptional, vintage finds that bring a special, personal touch and story to the occasion. Both of these avenues offer not only financial benefits and flexibility but also guarantee a look of unmatched style and personality.

In delving into the growing trends of gown rental and thrifting, we’re set to challenge and clear up the widespread misunderstandings related to these options. And in this article, we’ll highlight how these emerging trends in wedding fashion celebrate personal expression, budget-friendly elegance, and the thrill of finding that perfect, unique gown.

Renting and Thrifting Are Bringing Thoughtful, Smart, and Stylish Possibilities in Wedding Fashion

Myth-Busting 101: The Real Deal on Gown Rental

The rise of gown rental in the wedding industry has sparked a sustainable revolution, offering a chic and eco-friendly alternative for brides. Yet, despite its growing popularity, several myths persist, causing hesitation among potential renters. Let’s delve into these misconceptions, armed with insights from industry insiders, Jam Muñasque of Bridefolio and Maica Salud Tady of Vestido.

One common myth is the supposed limited selection of styles available for rent, which implies brides must compromise on their dream gown. Jam challenges this notion, saying, “I always believe in giving women, especially brides, options that they can be equally happy with,” she shared. “This is not us saying that everybody should be doing this, because I was once in that headspace about where girls just want something customized for their wedding day, and if that’s what makes them feel special then that’s definitely something they should do. But there’s also another segment that thinks quite differently.”

Jam Muñasque of Bridefolio. She shared that she included her own wedding dress in their rental catalog, sparking interest and delight among many brides eager to wear it for their special day. “Ganito pala ‘yung feeling, ang sarap sa pakiramdam!

It’s a good way to put how the wedding dress rental trend is changing the game by offering a wide range of styles and designs. It’s all about meeting the unique tastes of today’s brides without forcing them to settle for less on their special day.

A rental gown from Bridefolio.

Maica highlights a particularly beautiful aspect of this choice, “What I love about the brides that come to us is that they know that a bride before them has worn that look. And they’re okay with that, which is amazing.” This sentiment underscores a significant shift towards embracing the beauty of shared stories, making the act of choosing a rented or previously worn gown not just a practical decision, but a deeply meaningful one.

Concerns about cleanliness and maintenance of rental gowns also abound, with some fearing that rented dresses are less than pristine. Jam addresses this directly, saying, “The most common concern is uncleanliness…so we assure all our clients that all our gowns are dry-cleaned. My dry-cleaning guy was actually part of the wedding gown industry before. He used to work at a 5-star hotel and he used to specifically dry-clean wedding gowns at that hotel,” highlighting the meticulous care taken to ensure each gown is in impeccable condition for the next bride.

The challenge of achieving the perfect fit, a vital aspect for any bride, is approached with equal dedication. Jam emphasizes the importance of accommodating every girl’s body type and gown preference, operating on the principle that while trends may change, the fundamental desire for a flattering cut remains constant. “What we try to operate by are our basic principles, based on every girl’s body type and gown type,” she explains. “Trends happen every quarter almost. However, women tend to fall back on the same principles of what cut looks good on them or if they’re a specific body type, they’d already have something in mind. We want to make sure that there are options available across different sizes, and eventually, we’ll build from there.

Honestly, the more people that we encounter, the more surprised we get on how many people are open to this,” she adds. “Abroad, people are more open to gown rentals and it’s so common. The price range usually doesn’t matter and people don’t do it for economical reasons. It’s so commonplace and my vision or goal is to have that same thing in Manila,” Jam reflects.

Lace selections from Bridefolio.

The main takeaway is to not let outdated myths hold you back from exploring the world of gown rental. Whether you’re drawn to the idea for its sustainability, its practicality, or the chance to wear a gown infused with the joy of previous celebrations, remember: choosing to rent your gown is a choice filled with potential.

Who says you can’t wear colored gowns to your own wedding? Vestido holds racks upon racks of beautiful gowns for rent.

A Greener 'I Do

The fashion industry extends its reach into the bridal sector, highlighting the considerable impact of wedding gowns. The production of these gowns, especially those made from luxurious materials like silk, demands an immense amount of resources. For instance, the creation of silk fabric, a favored choice for wedding dresses, is particularly water-intensive. To produce just one yard of silk fabric, about 2,542 gallons of water are required. This means an elaborate ballroom gown, needing between eight to ten yards of fabric, can consume up to 26,420 gallons of water for its production. Similarly, a mermaid-style gown, which generally uses four to six yards of fabric, could require up to 15,850 gallons of water. Even a modest tea-length dress, with its approximate three yards of fabric, is responsible for nearly 8,000 gallons of water usage before it even reaches the bride.

The stark figures underscore the environmental benefits of opting for wedding gown rental over purchasing a new one. In choosing to rent, brides significantly reduce their ecological footprint, as the shared use of a gown means that the total amount of water, energy, and raw materials utilized per wear is dramatically lessened. It represents not just a sustainable alternative for one of life’s most significant events, but also resonates with the growing consciousness among brides towards more eco-friendly choices.

A fashionable Vestido rental gown.

Maica, reflecting on this shift, observes, “There is a bigger market for that conscious bride, I think, from four years ago, which is amazing.  We know that bridal gowns are massive. If they know that it’s going to a place that will give it care, then they’re okay to part with it. If you feel like it’s going to be disposed of, then you’re not okay to part with it, because then you’re contributing to the waste.”

Maica Salud Tady of Vestido, One piece, if you take care of it, if you buy quality, if you learn how to restyle, there’s more ways to wear it. And after that, you can still extend its lifespan by renting it out.”

Innovative techniques like dress rehabilitation and upcycling, in which vintage dresses are altered to fit current styles or disassembled to produce new items, contribute to this environmental mindset. “We’re trying to launch something called upcycling. It’s a dress rehab. So this is where older dresses that aren’t in trend anymore, maybe we can take them apart and take pieces from those dresses and put them together and upcycle them. Something that we’re looking into this year,” Maica shares, illustrating a commitment to reducing waste through creative reuse and repurposing of materials.

Now there’s another trend emerging in this space: thrifting.

Thrifting, once seen as a niche or alternative choice, has gained mainstream acceptance and is now considered a viable option for those looking to reduce their environmental impact while still achieving a unique and personal wedding day look.

Fashion photographer and self-confessed “thrift lover” Shaira Luna shares her insights on the shift towards sustainability and creativity through thrifting, “The funny thing is when I started thrifting, it was really for selfish reasons… But now, 10 years after all that, I am so pleasantly surprised that thrifting has been embraced by everyone.” Luna’s initial interest in thrifting was driven by a desire for creativity and individual expression, rather than solely by sustainability concerns. Yet, over time, she has witnessed a significant change in perception, with thrifting becoming both a trend and a lifestyle choice embraced by a wide audience.

Shaira is well-known on TikTok for her talent in turning thrifted items, some costing as little as 20 pesos, into fashionable outfits. Her videos showcase her creativity and promote affordable style, inspiring viewers to embrace sustainable fashion. And in doing so, she proves that being stylish doesn’t have to be expensive!

She recalls the skepticism she encountered in the early days, “I remember when I used to come into shoots, and then I tell them ‘ukay lang to,’ so they would be really shocked. Parang ‘Huh bumibili ka sa ukay? Talaga ba hindi ba madumi yon?’ And now it’s the complete opposite.” In fact, the dress that Shaira wore to her own wedding was proudly thrifted, for the very modest sum of just Php 100!

Fashion photographer Shaira Luna on finding the best ukay-ukay shops, “You still need to dig. There’s no secret. You really have to dive into it.”

She adds, “Clothing has gotten so much more acceptable, I think people are open to ideas of doing other things they thought they wouldn’t do just because of how they are presented. And again, not just in fashion, expressing yourself in general, in any form or any way, it’s always a good thing.

The Creative Bride’s Playbook

When selecting a wedding gown through rental or thrift shopping, it’s essential to approach the process with an open mind and a creative spirit. Shaira emphasizes the importance of embracing trends and exploring styles outside your comfort zone. “What I would say is to not be afraid of trying trends…always look at things that aren’t your style. I know they always say find your own style or like don’t follow trends. But without these little bursts of creativity from certain niche or certain groups,  your eyes wouldn’t be open to new ways of styling.

She also encourages brides to personalize their rental gowns with accessories, ensuring the dress reflects their individuality. “Don’t push aside things like micro trends, just be open. And try to appreciate things here and there, always look at things that aren’t your style,” she says.

In fact, Shaira’s own wedding dress was a happy coincidence. Or rather, a lucky find in an unexpected place, “My friend, he is also like a really hardcore thrifter like I am,” she says. “He was in La Union and we always joked about finding the best thing in the provinces. That’s where the really special pieces are for some reason. And then he messaged me about finding a romantic or Victorian white dress with lace.”

“He knows I love stuff like that. And then he said it was Php 100. I didn’t reply for a couple of hours because I was doing something. But he got it anyway. Then I said, parang pwede ‘yun sa kasal!”

I think thrifting is playing such a big part in helping people open their eyes to possibilities everywhere,” Shaira reflects.

So, where are these trends headed?

In our eyes, it’s easy to see renting and thrifting wedding dresses growing even stronger in the future. This approach to finding a wedding dress is all about making choices that feel good, are kind to the wallet, and stand out from the usual. It fits perfectly with a growing desire for weddings that are not only beautiful but also smart and personal. With more shops and online options popping up to offer rented or pre-loved gowns, this way of shopping for a wedding dress is getting easier and more appealing.

In wrapping up, picking out a rented or thrifted wedding dress is a heartwarming nod to the past, a sensible choice for the present, and an open door to a future full of possibilities. It’s a way to make your wedding uniquely yours, without the pressure of traditional expectations. Whether it’s feeling connected to the stories woven into a vintage piece or enjoying the flexibility and variety that comes with renting, your wedding dress can be a beautiful expression of your personal style and values.

So, here’s to the brides and grooms who choose to step into their future with intention, style, and a deep sense of connection to the past and possibilities ahead.

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